More than 80 students received their own FFA jackets March 14 from the Delaware Farm Bureau at the 93rd Delaware FFA State Convention.
Each year, DEFB gives the embroidered corduroy jackets to deserving FFA members through its annual Blue Jacket Bonanza as a way to encourage students to continue their agricultural journeys.
Students must apply for the jackets and demonstrate heart for community service and the FFA organization.
Former FFA state officer and current DEFB President Bill Powers spoke to students during the Blue Jacket Bonanza presentation. Like him, he added, a lot of his fellow DEFB board members are also FFA alumni and feel a connection to the students through this program.
Mr. Powers expressed the pride he felt when he received his first FFA jacket.
“I wore it all the time. I eventually wore it out,” he told the students during the convention.
“Our board started providing jackets a few years ago wanting to get them to the kids,” he said. “It was a great feeling standing there, seeing all those blue jackets. It's a good organization.”
William Penn High School FFA President MaKayla Counts shared her experience with the iconic blue jacket during the presentation, as well. She said her jacket gave her a sense of unity and pride as she progressed through the organization, becoming William Penn FFA’s first African-American female president.
“It’s hard to put into words how I felt when I opened my very own jacket. Happy, surreal, excited for the new opportunities that were ahead of me. As a first generation FFA member, I felt accomplished. I had earned a jacket that would open doors for me in areas that I felt passionate about. I became a part of a community of peers that shared similar interests as me. I broke barriers for myself, my culture, my community, and it all came from having a blue jacket of my very own,” she said.
“I will never forget meeting Delaware’s first African American woman representative, Lisa Blunt Rochester. She wanted to speak to a student, me, about Penn Farm and the food program we had to offer at school. As soon as she saw me, I will never forget the words she said to me: ‘And I see that we have an FFA member here.’ Her reaction showed me that this jacket brings recognition to FFA and what it represents.”
The following students received jackets from DEFB’s 2023 Blue Jacket Bonanza:
Caesar Rodney High School: Mackenzie Cusick, Charles Wissman, Hayden Otto, Maggie Brentari-Reinhardt, Temperance Haupt, Christian McMahon, Rachel Woodzell, Camren Scaffedi, Kerah Dill, Alyssa Wigley, Kenedy Barrett and Brooklyn Campbell.
William Penn High School: Elizabeth Grubbs, Elizabeth Toner, Jenna Buchanan, Joanna Gomez-Rosas, Joselyn Carrasco-Hernandez, Leah Zimmerman and Sanaa McDonald.
MOT Charter High School: Kayla Kaspin, Bhini Arora, Paige Ramone, Grace Nardo, Shruti Kuncharam and Tatiana Fair.
Odessa High School: Cierra Smith, Meka Galbraith, Camrynn Chambers, Olivia Orndorff and Kallie Marcum.
Smyrna High School: Madison Lomax, Gillian Shane, Nicholas Campbell, Nathaniel Webber, Riley Horsey, Alyssa Attix, Brooklynne Keiser, Alexis Mancuso, Adison Weisenbereger, Colton Johnson, Rylee Mancuso, Jaylen Ryan, Desiree Taylor, Ava Gregory, Jameson King and Brooke Willis.
Delmar High School: Cadence Davidson and George Nichols.
Christiana High School: Vincent Saltenberger and Kayla Parks.
Lake Forest High School: Montana Golden, Kylie Hammond, Ava Gallo, Gabriella Razzano and Mason Hay.
Milford High School: Madison Stahl, Lucy Chorman, George Simpson and Bailey Masten.
Woodbridge High School: Kalli Chelton, Jace Goff, Kylie Pusey, Madilyn Wynn and Brayan Perez.
Seaford High School: Marlie Janvier, Natalie Carter and Luke Metzner.
Appoquinimink High School: Alana Janiszewski, Jackson Luszcz, Drew Satterfield and Shauna Judd.
Sussex Central High School: Tori Jones, Melisa Velasquez-Zunun, Lucas Arriaga, Lily Allen, Kaira Jackson, Dillon Green, Camber Walker, Bryan Mendoza Perez and Andrew Orth.
Middletown High School: Wyatt Yolton
McKean High School: Crystal Rivera and Natalie Cook.